Section Chair:

Joanna M. Jacobs,
Director and Senior Counsel
Office of Dispute Resolution, Suite 4529
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Email address:
Telephone: (202) 305-4439

The Claims Against the Government Section covers both administrative claims against a federal entity seeking monetary damages, as well as claims which have ripened into a civil lawsuit against a federal agency in federal court. The various federal agencies each have settlement authority up to specified amounts to settle claims before a law suit has been filed.

Under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996, all of the federal agencies have the authority to develop ADR programs for resolving administrative disputes before actual litigation is commenced with the filing of a civil complaint in federal district court.

After a lawsuit has been filed, the Department of Justice represents the federal agencies in court. The Department of Justice litigates in all of the 94 federal district courts throughout the country through the local United States Attorneys offices, as well as through all of the litigating components within the Department, including: Tax, Civil Rights, Civil Division, Environment and Natural Resources, and Antitrust.

Once a complaint has been filed in federal court, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 obligates each federal district court to develop an ADR program so that each litigant has an option of settling a case with assistance of a neutral - for example, a mediator or an early neutral evaluator. In addition to court-annexed ADR programs, federal litigators involved in a case may decide, along with the other parties in the case, to privately hire a neutral for assistance in settlement negotiations. Sometimes the parties are looking for a neutral with expertise in a particular substantive area, or they are seeking a longer or more time-intensive intervention than a court-annexed neutral could provide.

The local federal court rules relating to ADR vary from district to district. View a compendium of all of the local District Courts' rules for ADR.

View yearly statistics of the use of ADR by the Department of Justice

Visit the ADR Resources page on the Department of Justice website.

What is the Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Working Group?

We are the central forum and resource for information about the federal government's use of ADR. We advance the use of ADR through:

  • Coordination of multi-agency initiatives
  • Promotion of best practices and programs
  • Dissemination of policy and guidance

Federal ADR Programs and Contacts


By Mail:

Joanna M. Jacobs
Director and Senior Counsel
Office of Dispute Resolution
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 4529
Washington, DC 20530-0001

By Email: